For The Madera Tribune
The Madera Razorbacks 16-under NSA travel softball team came away with a silver championship at the Wounded Warrior Benefit softball tournament in Turlock in 2013. Back row, from left, are manager Sandra Mendez, coach Adam Anaya, Tristyn Anaya, Jackie Mendez, Miriah Gonzalez, Kristen Whaite, Destanie Zaragosa, coach Abel Zaragosa and coach Jeff Marquez. Front row, from left, are Angelica “Jelly” Marquez, Cheyenne Carillo, Jessica Gomez and Cassandra Casanova.
The Madera Razorbacks 16-under NSA travel softball team participated in their second tournament of the season and came away with their second straight championship.
The Razorbacks brought home the silver championship at the Wounded Warrior Benefit softball tournament in Turlock.
On the first day, the Razorbacks lost all three games by a combined six runs.
The Razorbacks opened the day with a 4-0 loss to the Westside Bullets. The Razorbacks followed with a 6-5 loss to the ACGSA Mustangs and a 2-1 loss to Valley Venom.
“We were solid defensively, but we weren’t able to produce with runners in scoring position until Sunday,” Razorbacks manager Sandra Mendez said.
With just nine players the next day, the Razorbacks came through with three straight victories for the title.
Madera defeated the Lathrop Sparx 11-1 in the first game and followed with a 6-0 victory over Kingsburg Team Matrix.
Against the Ceres Sizzle, the teams were tied at two through regulation before Madera came through with a 5-4 victory in the international tiebreaker.
“We were proud to participate in the tournament that gives a portion of the proceeds to our heroes of the Wounded Warrior Project, who help thousands of injured soldiers returning from the battle- field and provide assistance to their families,” Mendez said.
Track looks to take measures after national accident
It’s an attention-drawing scene that has become all too common in motorsports.
From the smallest track in the country to the national renowned Indianapolis 500, frustrated drivers can be seen showing their disdain for other drivers by leaving their car after a wreck and charging at their rival, gesturing obscenely or, in some cases, throwing a couple of punches.
The speedway’s owner/promoter Kenny Shepherd, a former race car driver himself, hopes that through reinforcing the track’s strict guidelines that an outcome like the one that grabbed national headlines last week can be safely averted.
For Shepherd, it’s about being ready for those possible situations and discouraging this behavior from drivers beforehand.
“I’ve talked about it at every single drivers meeting since the beginning of the season and instruct them to not get on the track on foot,” Shepherd said. “We’ve had two happen this year and got in big trouble. They’re not thinking about that at the moment because they’re upset, but after they realize what it may cost them.”
It’s been an issue that Shepherd has tried to nip in the bud for the past couple of seasons as altercations in the sport gains notoriety especially among the impressionable younger fans.
“What we’ve done at the Madera Speedway is we’ve really got aggressive since 2011,” Shepherd said. “Going into the 2012 season, we’ve set fines and rules in place to try to control the drivers — there’s heavy penalties such as points taken away, suspensions to even expelling drivers from the track. The irony is we’ve been aggressively dealing with this for a couple of years now before this event. People were looking at us and shaking their heads wondering why we were so strict. There’s a reason why this subject was on our radar screen for the last two years, because even though there have been no fatalities, you have broken arms, broken legs, and others, so this is a major problem with not only the drivers but also officials who have been hit. The potential for something tragic was there so we’ve been aggressive dealing with it.”
While Shepherd’s goal is to always put on an exciting show with intense racing, safety is always his top priority and takes all the necessary precautions to make sure the Speedway’s conditions are up to par including proper lighting and removing dangerous objects on the track.
“Safety is first here,” Shepherd said. “From the very beginning of me running race tracks in all these years, we’ve been very proactive by our improvements with our fire trucks, safety trucks and vehicles, fire suits, helmets, and all the way through the safety procedures.”
Coyotes look for mental toughness as season nears
FRESNO — After enduring an 0-10 season in 2016, the Madera Coyotes football team rebounded with a 6-6 record in 2017, and the signs point to a bigger improvement for Madera in 2018.
“We got the bones to be a really successful football team,” Madera head coach Yosef Fares said after his team’s scrimmage at Hoover High School in Fresno. “Right now, we still need to continue to build and develop mentally. I think it’s all mental for us right now. We lined up with Bakersfield Christian (coached by Darren Carr, Derek Carr’s brother) and we were shocked in the beginning. We settled into it and we began to play football. In order to beat those high-quality opponents, we have think and believe we can and that’s really got to be the message from here on out.”
The Coyotes took part in a three-team scrimmage on Friday night that included the Hoover Patriots and Bakersfield Christian. All three teams took turns going up and down the field, practicing on both sides of the ball. Although it wasn’t an ideal situation, Fares credits both coaches for giving Madera the opportunity.
“It was very nice of coach Carr and coach Rustin Pickett to let us come in because our opponent canceled last minute, we were scrambling,” Fares said. “Usually, we don’t like to do three-team scrimmages, but they were kind enough to adjust their format to let us in. I’m very thankful to those two programs.
A strong offensive line, coached by former Super Bowl winner Anthony McCoy, a hungry defense looking to play Coyote football and an offense that features an explosive duo in Colt Nelson and J.J. Espinoza are prepared to take the County/Metro Athletic Conference.
Same issues continue to plague Madera South
EASTON — “We go with what we’ve got,” Madera South head coach Matt Johnson said after 20 players watched in street clothes. “They are big-time contributors, but they have to know what commitment is all about or it’s going to be a long, long time before they see the field.”
The Stallions faced the Washington Union-Easton Panthers in a scrimmage at John Ventura Stadium where the featured teams combined for a 3-17 record in 2017. However, both teams are looking to rebound from last season’s bumps and bruises — mostly bruises.
“It’s a crazy thing,” Johnson said about his team’s progression, despite the struggles. “It’s changing and I’m feeling it and we’re seeing it. Once school gets out and summertime hits, that’s the next phase. Our off-season — spring ball, weights and strength and conditioning have been off the charts, I’m very proud.
“But when school gets out and jobs and summer activities get going, all of a sudden we are depleted by 30 or 40 percent unless guys step up and keep going. It’s getting better, we’re making the right steps, but this is a cultural thing and it’s going to take a while for them buying in day-by-day. It’s better than it was, but we’ve run out of excuses. You have to be there for the family.”
The Stallions overall didn’t show much to the crowd and the Panthers, but exhibited focus and energy as they gang tackled and executed their game plan. Overall, it gave the Stallions a focus heading into the next week.
“Football wise, we were vanilla. We wanted to discover who’s really going to execute and stick their noses in there,” Johnson said. “I saw a few goods, but I saw a lot of stuff that was eye-opening. The film is going to tell the true story.
Hawks get ready for new season
COALINGA — With a chance to hit someone other than your teammate for the first time all season, the Liberty Hawks football team didn’t come out with the intensity head coach Mike Nolte may have wanted in a scrimmage against the Coalinga Horned Toads.
The Horned Toads dominated the first part of the scrimmage, scoring three touchdowns against Liberty’s first-team defense.
“The intensity didn’t pick up until the very end,” Nolte said “I would have liked to have seen us sustain a little more enthusiasm and emotion.”
“We looked good in some spots,” Nolte said. “Our running game looked good. Our passing stuff was okay. We have to make sure we go after the ball more aggressively when it’s in the air.”